Is the LEGO Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile (76188) a Good Investment Set?
6th October 2022
By the end of this year we'll be waving goodbye to several LEGO Batman sets, one of which is the Classic TV Series Batmobile, meaning there are only a few months left to pick this set up at retail price. In this article we look at whether the classic Batmobile is likely to be hot property on the secondary market, or whether it's one to ignore if you're looking for a good investment.
If you count the San Diego Comic Con polybag exclusive, this is LEGO's third (and best) incarnation of the Batmobile from the 1960s TV series and its film adaptation. This retro Batmobile has become iconic thanks to its art deco styling and the popularity of the TV series, and is a far cry from the bulky creations of recent Batman movies. As a replica of the original, this set performs well, as it's accurately proportioned and matches the shape of the Lincoln Futura on which it was based. It also has a credible colour scheme, although the fine red detailing on the original car hasn't quite been achieved, but this is almost impossible for a set of this size.
Memorable details from the on-screen Batmobile have been faithfully incorporated, such as the cylindrical exhaust and its adjacent parachute packs, the red Batphone in the cockpit, and the anti-theft rocket system. There are a few missing references, but overall fans can be happy. It also includes some good play features, such as an opening trunk for storage and two front shooting blasters.
Although the Batmobile has been branded with the 7+ age, it appeals to both younger and older builders. This is thanks to the addition of a stickered display plate and rotating stand, meaning it can be used as either a play set or a display model. This is good from an investment perspective, as collectors tend to be adults, so sets that appeal to them will always fetch more than those that don't. Although this set lacks the impressive scale and intricate detail of the larger Batman sets, such as the 1989 Batwing, Tumbler, and 1989 Batmobile, it still looks good on a shelf and is easier to find space for.
The Classic TV Series Batmobile retails for £29.99 / $29.99 / €34.99 and has a piece count of 345. This equates to a price per piece of 8.7p / 8.7c / 10.1c, which is less than the vast majority of Batman sets, making it good value for money.
The Classic TV Series Batmobile comes with two minifigures, both of which are exclusive to the set. One is a nice-looking Batman sporting Adam West's blue and grey spandex costume. The colours are accurate to the source material and the simple printing suitably captures the less masculine portrayal of the masked crusader. The signature detail on this minifigure is the printed cowl piece, which was also used in the Batman from the Classic TV Series Batcave (76052). In fact, the Batman minifigure here is very similar to the Batcave version, which sits just outside the top ten list of most expensive Batman minifigures.
The second minifigure is the Joker, which again is very accurate to the on-screen depiction. The pink suit of Cesar Romero's portrayal of the supervillain is captured very well, as is his green hair and bleached white skin. There have been numerous minifigures of the Joker and this is one of my favourites, due to the fine detailing and colourful attire. Again, this version is also very similar to the one provided in the classic Batcave set, which can be bought relatively cheaply, so it's unlikely this Joker will be worth a significant amount after the Batmobile retires.
This set contains a couple of unique pieces, namely the central red chassis piece and the wheel hubs printed with Batman's emblem. The wheel hubs add some nice detail to the finished model, and they could prove useful for any Batman MOC builders. However, as the rest of the set's inventory is made up of fairly common parts, these aren't expected to push up the set's price significantly.
Looking to the future
Superhero franchises are going through a golden age in terms of their popularity, and the same is true of Batman. This has helped to drive up the price of many Batman sets after they've left shelves. For example, the 1989 Batmobile (76139), which retired at the end of 2021, already fetches around £300 / $400 on the aftermarket compared to its RRP of £219.99 / $249.99. With several more films and TV shows starring Batman in the pipeline, his popularity seems sure to continue into the foreseeable future. This is good news for the investment potential of the Classic TV Series Batmobile, as a franchise's popularity can have a large bearing on set prices.
Although this Batmobile is considered to be iconic amongst Batman fans, the design is not as popular as the more modern and edgier incarnations of the famous car. This is probably a reason why LEGO has not chosen to turn it into a large flagship DC, like they have with the 1989 Batmobile. The more limited appeal of the classic Batmobile is important when considering whether this set will go up in value.
Investment opportunity: FAIR
This set is the best replica of the 1960's Batmobile that LEGO have released as it subtly improves upon the version in the Classic TV Series Batcave (76052). It contains two attractive minifigures and has a very reasonable RRP. It offers something for everyone, acting as both a good play set and a nice display model. However, while everything is done well, it's not a set that stands out for any reason.
The set shares many similarities with the Classic TV Series Batcave, which retired in 2017 and still sells for less than its RRP. This negative price action doesn't bode well for the investment potential of the Batmobile. While the classic Batmobile is better value than the classic Batcave was, we don't expect this set to be the best investment.
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